“I have a meanness inside of me, real as an organ. Slit me at my belly and it might slide out meaty and dark, drop on the floor, like you could stomp on it. It’s the Day blood, somethings wrong with it. I was never a good little girl and I got worse after the murders.” - Dark Places, Chapter 1
If you were to call Gillian Flynn’s writing, “creepy”, “disturbed”, or “disgusting”, this would not offend the Chicago based novelist. In fact, she grew up rooting for the bad guy.
“I was a bit creepy from toddler-hood on. I grew up really adoring dark fairy tales—the unpurified, wonderfully grisly Grimm stories. Even as a child, I responded to the villains, especially the female villains. I wasn’t so interested in the pretty, pink princesses who seemed so naturally good. I wanted to know why the witch, the stepmother, the nasty guardian became the evil creature she was”, Flynn says.
Flynn’s second novel, Dark Places, which was released in paperback on May 4th, is just as dark as her first novel, Sharp Objects. Dark Places is about Libby Day, an awkward adult, who was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered as part of, “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas”–and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, while Ben sits in prison, Libby is approached by The Kill Club.
The Kill Club, a secret society obsessed with notorious crimes, collect memorabilia and examine cases in detail in their own free time at late-night meetings. (Meetings of the Kill Club are like comic book conventions — but with murder cases instead of X Men). Libby, broke, and psychologically unequipped to work, decides that she can profit off of The Kill Club and decides that for a fee, she will re-examiner the night of her families murder.
Libby’s search takes her from Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s family members–including her brother Ben. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started–on the run from a killer.
Gillian Flynn is a writer who manages to be dark and awkward without excuses. She holds back nothing. Exploring the evil and the psychology of the evil is a big part of why she writes, “I think that’s still the question I try to answer in my books. I’m less interested in characters who are inherently decent. I want to explore the hard struggle for decency, the people whose first instinct is actually to do the wrong thing. This goes for my narrators—who are never without their obsessions and dark urges—and also the murderers. I’m not interested in writing a book where a killer is a killer because he or she is “crazy.” I want to know the urges, the jealousies, the anger and sadness that compel them. To me, that’s endlessly interesting.”
Flynn is currently working on her third novel, GONE GIRL, (what Flynn refers to as a “marital thriller”) about a woman who disappears under very disturbing circumstances on her fifth wedding anniversary.
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